Devotions - January

A compiled thread of all of January's devotions

A place to discuss Scripture, spiritual life, and day-to-day issues.

Devotions - January

Postby Blipadouzi » Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:51 am

Hi everyone,

There has been a lot of talk to bring this place back to life. Several suggestions were entertained and one of them was a devotional.

So in response to that I will be posting a daily devotional from now on.

Reading: Genesis 1-3; Matthew 1

Good morning Church,

I hope you will take the challenge to read through the Bible in a year with us and the students of the school. (our church has a school)

We start of the New Year as we always do, reading about the two Adams; the first Adam who introduced sin to God’s creation through his disobedience and the second Adam (Jesus) who broke the bonds of that sin through his obedience. There is one portion of the scripture this morning that stuck out. It is found in the Genesis reading:

Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. (Genesis 2:19)

I like reading that, “He brought them to the man to see what he would name them”. It’s like a parent does with a baby, introducing things to stimulate the child, taking great delight in seeing what the child will do with a new toy or the first time in a stroller. God wanted to see what the man would name them. This was the closeness, the intimacy of the relationship God has always intended for us with him. It is the reason he came up with the plan of the cross, to open the door to the possibility of the intimacy again.

That bring us to the second part of that sentence, “and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.” A similar thing has happened in our relationship with God through the church. Do you remember these words of Jesus?

I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 18:18)

We should never fall into the trap of thinking that God needs us because he does not. He doesn’t need anything or anyone. But he has chosen to enter into this strange relationship with us where he has called us to work with him. It is not as equals. It is more like a mother calling her four year old to help her in the garden. It is not because the four year old has anything to over, in fact it is quite the opposite, making more work for the mom. Yet it is a delight for the mom to spend those moments with her child. God calls us to him not because of our skills but because of the relationship.

Does this mean that our work is useless? Not at all. Just as the mom helps her four year old to know how to help so God has given us his Spirit so that we will know what to do and how to do it. So, let us accept this invitation to a wonderfully intimate relationship and work alongside our heavenly Father. Can you think of a better place to be?


By the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
Last edited by Blipadouzi on Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:29 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Kenric » Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:30 pm

Thanks, bilpadouzi! This is really great! I've only been doing weekly devotionals and they are mostly just inspirational for my age. But, I love this one. There's lots more Bible in it.
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Postby Blipadouzi » Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:57 pm

There are already 3 more typed up read to be posted...but i don't want to saturate the forum so i will post them one day at a time.
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Postby Catspaw » Tue Jan 03, 2006 11:13 pm

Wow, how wonderful of you to take the time to do this, blipadouzi! \:D/ Your wisdom is very much appreciated!
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Postby Blipadouzi » Wed Jan 04, 2006 9:44 pm

Sorry I didn't get to post one today, but as I mentioned in the "We were lost" thread...I was having problems connecting from work.

I may post tomorrow's before heading off just to be sure.

Blessings all.
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Postby Blipadouzi » Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:27 am

January 5th, 2006

Reading: Genesis 4-6; Matthew 2

Good morning Church,

I am convinced that there is a great deal more about the past and the present with God then we know or could possibly understand. We need to remember that the Word of God is the revelation of God that God decided to reveal to us. This is the essential, everything that we need to know, but there is a great deal more that God decided not to explain. Why? Because the essentials are more than enough to keep us occupied for a life time.

Have you stopped to consider the Nephilim, a race that resulted from the marriage of sons of God with daughters of man? We are told that this race survived the flood and were the heroes of renown. Hmmm. Does this mean that angels are capable of having children? We can speculate a lot about this, but God chose not to give us further knowledge in this area. But it is enough to know that there is more that we do not understand so that we should remain humble in our knowledge.

What about Adam and Eve? Where did all the other people come from? Who did Cain marry? Yet I do not recall reading that Adam and Eve were the only ones that God created. It was simply Adam that was chosen to work the garden. It is from his line that we have Noah. It is like we follow this line of created man because it is from them that God chose his people (through Abraham) and that he had Jesus born in to. So it is an important line. It is also interesting to see how God’s grace worked, to have the second Adam come from the line of the fallen Adam. Again, we are not shown all things but it certainly keeps us humble in our thinking.

The fact is that the Word reveals the heart of God to us. It is its purpose that we would understand what resulted from Adam’s actions and the sacrifice of Jesus. It is enough that we see what results when we are removed from our fellowship with Christ. Man’s natural tendency is towards violence. We see it in Cain and in his line. It gets so bad that it is recorded:

The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain… Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. (Genesis 6:5-6, 11-12)

If we look at how Canada has started off this new year we can see that things have not changed. Murders, stabbings, beatings all on the first day of this brand new year. As highly educated as we see ourselves, as prosperous as we think ourselves, as high tech as we are becoming, the fundamental truth remains the same; we need that intimate relationship with our heavenly Father to allow us to be what we were created to be. Without that relationship we will always be less, no matter how good we live our lives.

Just as man grieved the heart of our Creator before the flood so this lost world continues to grieve him. However, now there is a light in this darkness and we are bearers of this light. We have that awesome responsibility to let that light shine through us. We are like little lighthouses, allowing the light to shine out and warn of the danger. We are not responsible for the decisions people make but we are responsible for shining that light. So let it shine.
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Postby Blipadouzi » Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:31 am

Janaury 7th, 2006


Hi everyone...

I know this is a few hours early, but I will be out all day tomorrow and very early so I won't have a chance to post this.

*******************************

Reading: Genesis 10-12; Matthew 4

Good morning Church,

This morning we have read about the temptations that Jesus faced; three temptations that sum up much of what we are tempted with every day. Jesus overcame these temptations by knowing the Word, believing the Word and applying the Word. The enemy had to run away from his use of the truth. But not just his use of it, it was also his unwavering faith in it.

One of the greatest things that we face in our life, which is a natural tendency that the enemy plays upon, is our desire for a legacy. We want to make a name for ourselves. We want to be remembered for something great after we have fallen asleep in the Lord. In our youth it may be some great dreams that we have to become famous and well known. In mid-life it is simply to feel that we have accomplished something. It seems to be a part of our natural sin nature, to want to be glorified.

It is what man did after the flood, as he began to increase in number. God had commanded man to be fruitful and fill the earth but man gathered together in a central place and began to build a great city with a great tower. Their purpose?

"Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth." (Genesis 11:4)

Their purpose was in complete opposition to God’s command and it was to bring glory to themselves instead of giving it to God. Our rebellion to God is deep seeded in us. It is ugly and it is real, even if sometimes it appears innocent. What is so bad about man wanting to accomplish great things? The basic truth is it is wrong because we are to glorify God, not ourselves. Who receives the glory, the painting or the artist? Who receives the glory, the creation or the Creator?

Now, we all know that we are an intelligent creation. Man has accomplished much over his short time on this planet. Many of the great accomplishments were by great men of faith who gave the glory to God. But, even without faith we can accomplish much. My question is, why should we? Should we accomplish things just because we can? Should we be cloning just because we can? Should we be building nuclear devices just because we can? Should we be polluting up our air and water systems just because we can? What price are we willing to pay for this desire to glorify ourselves? Are we willing to be in complete disobedience to God’s commands? Are we willing to set aside the governance of love in order to accomplish glory?

In complete contrast to the people of Babel we begin the story of Abram. The people of Babel wanted to put a lot of hard work into accomplishing something for themselves. Abram was called by God to allow God to accomplish something through Abram. The people of Babel had faith in their intelligence and abilities. Abram had faith in God’s wisdom and strength.

Abram was far from a man of faith when God called him out, but he had enough to simply trust and to believe what God told him. He had many lessons to learn. He did not trust God to protect him and so used lies to preserve his life. This ended up being passed down his line as his son also learned to rely on deception as did his grandson. Yet, they also learned and grew in maturity in faith and trust and eventually learned to rely on God’s direction and providence. In contrast to Babel we have a simple man who trusted God and God raised up a great nation through this man’s seed to glorify himself.

I am told that it is natural for men of middle-age to look back on their life and ask the question, have I mattered? Have I accomplished anything with my life? Will I be remembered? But this comes from that dark place that would have us panic and take our eyes from Jesus. It comes from a self-centered place. We need to look but instead of looking at ourselves, let us look at Jesus and ask that same question, what has Jesus accomplished in me?

The greatest thing that Abraham ever did was to believe the promise of God. This revealed much about his relationship with God. He heard the Word, he believed it and he applied it. The greatest thing we will ever accomplish is our relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ. Instead of building a tower of our accomplishments to glorify ourselves, our life should be a tower of faith built by our Lord to bring glory to the Father. The only way to defeat our own tendency and the enemies play on it is to know the Word, to believe the Word and to apply the Word. To God be the glory, great things he hath done!
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Postby Blipadouzi » Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:33 am

Janaury 6th, 2006


Reading: Genesis 7-9; Matthew 3

Good morning Church,

There is a great danger in our journey with Christ that one day we will think that we have arrived, that we have gone as far as anyone could go, that we know it all. It’s dangerous because this always leads us to a great defeat. The change that is being brought about in us is a gradual work of the Holy Spirit and will never be complete until we are called home. We cannot use this as an excuse to not maintain a repentant heart. As Paul said, we cannot use God’s grace as an excuse to sin.

John the Baptist, and after him Jesus, had to deal with a group of men who thought they had arrived. The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the religious elite. They thought they were living the law perfectly and were now in a place to judge others. It was all a lie. They had a certain appearance but it was impossible to live the law. We have all fallen short of God’s glory. We can’t meet God’s standards because of what Adam and Eve did. Yet these men thought they were above it.

In this present age, even though we claim that we have salvation by faith, many Christians still have the mentality that they are working for it, as if they could ever get to a place where their actions would earn them a place with the Father for eternity. They get some mistaken notion from the Word that it is possible. But even the great heroes of the Word were faulty men needing the grace of God. Consider Noah. Some people misread the Word and think that God was pleased with Noah because he was righteous, that he was what God desired in man. He wasn’t. Read it again:

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. (Genesis 6:9)

The LORD then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. (Genesis 7:1)

In comparison to that generation Noah was righteous. Compared to all the sin that was taking place around him Noah was blameless. That would not be hard to do considering:

The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. (Genesis 6:5)

How righteous was Noah? Consider his actions after the flood. After his worship of God what was the next thing he did? He got himself drunk and opened himself up to great shame. His youngest son took advantage of that and ridiculed his father while his older sons covered their father’s shame. What Noah was...was obedient and this is always what matters to God. Think of Abraham who acted in obedience in his trust of God’s promise.

God does not call his servants when they are perfect. He calls them in their current condition and develops them in their relationship with him. Consider all the servants of God. Consider Gideon who was afraid of his own shadow. Consider Peter and the work God did on him. None are perfect when they are called. What God does look for is a heart willing to obey and willing to be repentant.

Obedience does not negate the fact that the natural tendency of man’s heart is evil. God was not fooling himself with the flood. He knew things would not change:

Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. (Genesis 8:21)

God knew our heart condition and nothing we could do could bring about God’s righteousness in us. Some men would be less evil than others through history but all men would fall short of God’s glory. Only God could bring about his righteousness in the hearts of man, and he had a plan to do just that. His name is Jesus.

With the coming of Jesus everything changed and we were taken from underneath that oppressive sin and given freedom to make a choice. Before it was impossible for us to decide because of the nature of the curse of sin, but with Jesus those limits were removed so we could make a choice. Once we have decided then the power of the Holy Spirit is able to do much with our character. Again, consider Peter. Before Jesus all servants continued failing God; Saul, David, Solomon. But after the giving of the Holy Spirit this changed. Before the Holy Spirit Peter was still weak and not much of a leader. With the coming of the Holy Spirit Peter changed because the Holy Spirit had begun to make the necessary changes. It is by God’s power. It is the only way.

One little foot note to all this, which is unrelated to our topic. It is interesting to note that before Noah everyone was vegetarian. It only began with Noah and his sons that God gave permission for them to eat meat:

The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. (Genesis 9:2-3)
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Postby Blipadouzi » Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:34 am

Janaury 8th, 2006


Reading: Genesis 13-15; Matthew 5:1-26

Good morning Church,

Have you ever met anyone that was so impressive that they almost appeared larger than life? The sort of person who, when they walked into the room, seemed to automatically gain everyone's attention? The sort of person who seemed to be so full of life that they seemed to overflow with it? Would you believe me if I told you that this is how God intends for us to look as we pass through this dark world?

I am not saying that we are all designed to be dynamic and overbearing. I have met a lot of quiet yet powerful individuals whose quiet nature belied the true power that was contained within. They possessed a confidence that could unnerve the most outgoing person. No, a larger than life person comes in all kinds of packaging and personalities. It is not so much the person and personality, as their allowing of God to possess them fully.

These people are the "risk" takers. We use the word risk because that is how the world sees it but those of us who know their source of confidence know the truth. Faith is not risk. Consider Abram. He was growing in his relationship with the Lord, maturing with experience. He had received several promises by this time. He was demonstrating a lack of selfishness as he allowed his nephew to pick the best land. His confidence seemed to be that God would fulfill his promise wherever he was placed. He received a vision to confirm this. So when he was called to act he did not hesitate.

Five kings went to war against four and they lost. The conquering kings carried off plunder including Abram's nephew and all his possessions. With just over 300 men Abram pursued those kings. He defeated them and rescued his nephew. He returned the plunder and refused to keep any, stating that his reliance was on the Lord's provision and he would not rob God of that glory. Is this the same man who lied about his wife to preserve his own life?

God was blessed by this man and entered into a covenant relationship with him and gave him the promise of a son. This is the same promise that the Apostle Paul uses to teach about Jesus and the fact that we are the seeds of this promise. Abraham believed this promise and it was created to him as righteousness, and he became the father of our faith. Larger than life.

It is this same confidence, this same trust, this same faith in the promises of God that is suppose to make us more than conquerors, larger than life. Read Jesus' words:

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. (Matthew 5:13)

We understand the illustration of being light but do we understand the salt? Salt adds flavour and was also used in preserving food. As we move through this world in complete confidence in the Lord, we add flavour to life and we bring the hope of preservation. We are not suppose to be hold up in the salt shaker, we are supposed to be living our life in the world so that people can taste the flavour of our God. We are supposed to be brimming over with the joy of the Lord, showing what the Lord does in us through the best and worst of times. He intends to cause us all to be larger than life, that people would see what faith really does to a person. But there are a couple of problems.

The first is that we love what we have too much. We can never be bigger than life if we are not willing to lose that life and everything it contains. The principle is simple: if we try to hold on to things, we will lose them but if we are willing to lose them for Jesus then we will gain everything. When we allow ourselves to become anchored to anything but Jesus then life becomes overwhelming instead of us overwhelming life. Be willing to lose it all with a real joy in your heart and you will gain that eternity perspective that allows you to possess so much more. Then we will become "risk" takers.

The second is that we are afraid of the world. Fellowship with believers is essential but so is living in the world. We gather together to be encouraged and to encourage others. We gather for instruction and powerful worship. But we are to live in the world where the work of God in our lives can be seen and can affect people, where the salt can add flavor to a boring, thrill seeking world.

So, fellow salt, let's get shaking. There's plenty of "risks" to be taken. There's plenty of work to be done. There are many Lots that need rescuing. There are many adventures to be had.
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Postby Blipadouzi » Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:36 am

January 9th, 2006


Reading: Genesis 16-17; Matthew 5:27-48

Good morning Church,

So Abraham was not a perfect man. I think we have already figured that out. But neither was Sarah the perfect wife. Abraham and Sarah were promised a son and, even though Abraham was getting up there in years, Abraham seemed to be quite content to wait on the Lord. However, Sarah, who may have felt the passing of time in a greater way than Abraham, started to panic. God was not acting fast enough and time was running out. So she put the pressure on Abraham, took the matter in her own hands, and had her husband produce a child with, another woman, her servant. Now here is where Abraham gets stuck in a bad situation.

Sarah starts detecting an attitude in Hagar. I think we could see the writing on the wall there. Perhaps it was a normal thing in the situation but it was an attitude that brought a great deal of disturbance to this odd family. Remember it was Sarah who had convinced Abraham to do this in the first place, but look at her words now:

"You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me." (Genesis 16:5)

It is almost laughable, but not. The truth is that it was Abraham’s fault. He had given in to a nagging wife just as he was about to once again. I do not say that in a mean sense towards Sarah. She was frustrated and scared. Abraham should have been gentle yet firm in his conviction to wait upon the Lord. He should have taken the time to teach her in this relationship he had with God. Instead he took the easy way out, as he was about to once again. His reaction this time is the same as the first, he simply gives in:

"Your servant is in your hands," Abram said. "Do with her whatever you think best." Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. (Genesis 16:6)

Abraham had the responsibility to teach in gentleness and remain firm in the spiritual leadership of his family. Sarah was wrong but Abraham even more so. It was the case in the garden with Adam and Eve as it was the case on several occasions. Now I am not just referring to husband and wife situations but any situation where the leader allows nagging or pressure to divert him from the course God has placed him on. Some times it is easier (let’s be honest, it is always easier) to give in to what people want. But spiritual leadership is not dictated by the desires of the crowd; it is not a democracy. Spiritual leadership happens when God leads and the leader follows, imparting that vision to those he is responsible for. Abraham should have reminded Sarah of the vision, of the covenant, of the promise.

The good thing is that Abraham learned. Later, when Sarah had finally given birth many years later, she wanted Isaac to take center stage instead of Ishmael. After all, thought Sarah, Isaac was the promised child, not Ishmael. She wanted to send Hagar and her son away. This grieved Abraham. Again he was stuck in a bad place. But this time he did not react with a shrug of the shoulders. This time he hesitated and in that hesitation God spoke. Abraham was assured that his eldest son would be taken care of. It was not the ideal situation but God assured Abraham that he was in control and that he was to trust his God. So, this time Abraham was able to make the right decision under the guidance of the Lord.

This is a hard struggle for followers of Christ, especially in the Western world where we hold up democracy as the only form of leadership. But then we are trying to push democracy on a Kingdom, God’s Kingdom. Democracy does not work there because it is not how God designed it to be. Yes, we have seen enough dictators in our days but God does not tolerate dictators either. There is a wise manner in which to be a spiritual leader and all the instructions and examples are laid out in the Word, but are we willing to trust God in the development of his leaders? Or will we be naggers like Sarah? The work of God is not always evident and it is rarely quick. Are we willing to allow God to fulfill his promises in his time and are we willing to allow his leader to guide us there? In other words are we willing to allow leaders to lead? Something to consider for the day.
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Postby Blipadouzi » Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:37 am

January 10th, 2006


Reading: Genesis 18-19; Matthew 6:1-18

Good morning Church,

Imagine living in an age when angels walked the earth and were seen and known. Many of us long for a simple glimpse of the spiritual realm where we could see and understand what is taking place around us. Some of the prophets were able to see the army of the Lord and other people had conversations with these marvelous beings. But none seem as ordinary and as common as what we read this morning about Abraham and Lot.

The fact that they were entertaining angels does not seem as strange as much as how common it comes across. The fact that Abraham had rushed to the three visitors and delayed them with an invitation to a meal does seem a bit out of the ordinary. When is the last time you conversed with an angel and, if you had, would you have thought of inviting him to dine with you? Lot was the same way, inviting them to spend the night under his roof. Both men responded immediately when they saw them. They recognized them and immediately moved to serve them.

It is not surprising that both men offered their best to these agents of the Lord. Abraham had fresh bread made by his wife instead of a servant, and he picked out a choice cafe. He presented the best he could to them. Lot offered to sacrifice his daughters in order to keep these agents from harm. Thankfully it did not come to this as these angels ended up providing Lot with the protection needed.

Now I am not a servant who is caught up in the worship of angels. They deserve no more worship than man for they too are created. I am not even caught up with the study of angels, although I do admit that I find them fascinating. On occasions I have allowed my boyhood imagination the freedom to explore the possibilities of angels walking our city streets. I have often wondered as I rode the metro (subway) or walked through crowds if any of the members of the crowd were angels in disguise. Some would dismiss this thought but the Word is clear that they have walked boldly among us and have been recognized by men. In fact we are warned:

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)

The writer of Hebrews has a great deal to say on the subject of angels, reminding us of their place, and our relationship to them and the fact that we have received greater honour than they because we have received God’s grace. The writer also states that angels have been given to us as ministering spirits. Even Jesus spoke of the angels that watch over the children.

My point this morning, in this light devotional, is that there is more going on around us than sometimes we dare imagine. Some people would block us into a religious pigeon hole where everything is mundane, routine and no bigger than us. But the fact is that everything about God and his creation reveals that God and the spiritual realm are so much more than our limited thinking and to serve him we must be willing to go beyond ourselves. Sarah, the wife of Abraham, was stuck in her own limitations. When the angels informed her of her pending pregnancy she laughed at the thought. The angel’s response to her doubt was simple:

Is anything too hard for the LORD ? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son. (Genesis 18:14)

We must come out of ourselves and step into the reality of the impossible being possible, the place of angels, service and mighty miracles. After all, is anything too hard for the Lord? So, today, as you go about your business of walking in the impossible, if a stranger happens to smile at you, don’t be surprised to think that a fellow servant of the Lord is at work. And if he looks hungry, why not invite him to dine with you.
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Postby Blipadouzi » Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:38 am

Janaury 11th, 2006


Reading: Genesis 20-22; Matthew 6:19-34

Good morning Church,

Many people love to dream of doing the impossible, but few dare to live the impossible. Yet, this is exactly where the Lord would have us live, in the realm of the impossible. We have conditioned ourselves to want things safe and controlled. We often accuse women of being controllers but men have that same ambition, to control every aspect of our lives. If we do not have control then we feel out of control and that scares us. It is a trust issue.

God’s basic premise is uncomplicated: he has the control. He will not force us to be in that relationship with him but if we do enter it freely then it must be with the understanding that he has control and he promises us a wild ride. We have tamed the Bible down quite a bit but stop and consider what an individual trapped at the Red Sea would have felt. The sea on one side, the Egyptian army on the other. Who’s running this show? What about Peter in the storm? How did I get myself into this mess? What about Paul on that runaway ship? God’s up to something here.

We consider the period of Acts as the time of the great daring, the great adventures. But we live in a more civilized age now. None of us are risking life and limb for our faith, right? Well, not in North America, not yet, but many Christians face death every day in other parts of the world. But life and death issues are not the only adventures of daring. There is the daring to live the dreams that God has given us, to reach for the impossible in Jesus' name and power and authority. And let us not forget, for his glory. When is the last time you dared anything beyond your own ability? When’s the last time your spirit flew in a wild abandonment as you moved from the realm of the possible to God’s realm, the place of the impossible?

Sarah gave birth in her old age. The Israelites were rescued from Egypt. They were saved at the Red Sea. They survived forty years in the desert. They conquered a land filled with great warriors and kingdoms. Peter walked on the water, until he panicked. Paul survived that shipwreck as well as being stoned, as well as being bitten by a snake, as well as … many impossible things happened to Paul and by Paul. So how did they do it? How did they walk in God’s reality, the place of the impossible? They were willing to lose it all.

Consider what you read this morning:

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

It goes hand in hand with this:

So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:31-34)

Add to this the teaching Jesus gave us on the principle of our relationship with God:

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26)

The only reason that people fail to dare to live the dreams God has given is because they are afraid to lose what they have. We will not live a life of risk because we could lose what we have gained. But Jesus taught us that there is noting we should be holding on to. All our investments should be in the heavenly things. The things we need to live here will be provided so that we can continue daring to seek the kingdom of God. Whatever we are trying to hold on to we will lose anyway so let go of it now and it may be preserved. Abraham is an example of this.

Isaac was the son of promise yet God told Abraham to sacrifice him. God was requiring Abraham to show that he trusted him enough to lose even the son of promise. To our amazement, shock and horror Abraham obeyed. He was a man who dared to live the impossible. We are taught by Paul that this same faith is what has been birthed in us, that we can only walk with God with this “risk it all” type of faith. It is only when we try to hold on, to minimize the risk, that we guarantee our failure and inability to step into the place of miracles and the impossible.

It is time to rise up oh men and women of faith. Put everything you have behind you, consider it lost, as Paul did, and dare to live the dreams that you have been given. Let the world see you as a risk taker. Let the world be in awe of what God will achieve through those who’s treasures are in heaven, who have no ties to this place, who live for the glory of God.
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Postby Blipadouzi » Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:39 am

**Response from Kris Doyle for above devotions**

Kris Doyle wrote:
blipadouzi wrote:It is time to rise up oh men and women of faith. Put everything you have behind you, consider it lost, as Paul did, and dare to live the dreams that you have been given. Let the world see you as a risk taker. Let the world be in awe of what God will achieve through those who’s treasures are in heaven, who have no ties to this place, who live for the glory of God.
Amen! O:) What a wonderful and needful message. :pray: May God bless you! Thanks for the devotion and especially the Scriptures listed at the beginning. I think I'll go read them now!
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Postby Blipadouzi » Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:42 am

January 12th, 2006


Reading : Job 1-2; Matthew 7

Good morning Church,

So how is your house this morning? Confident it can weather any storm? Survive any flood? The hurricane in the States this year showed us that no earthly home, no matter how well it is built can stand against the destructive winds of major hurricanes. Those that did survive the winds were lifted right off their foundations by the flood waters. Yet, Jesus spoke to us about another house this morning; our lives.

Job is a good example of what Jesus was teaching. Job had it all. He had worked hard and achieved much. He had riches, reputation, a large family, everything a man could desire in life. He had a strong relationship with God and he honoured him in everything he did. But then the Accuser came and God allowed him to strip Job of all his riches and possessions. Even his children were taken from him.

Now don’t let this be just a story for you. Perhaps you do not have much to your name. Perhaps you do not have a large family. But imagine all the things that are important to you are taken away, all on the same day. Your bank account is emptied by a thief, you are fired from your job, your car is written off in an accident, your cat dies, your TV is busted, your friends abandon you, and you are left dazed by the swiftness of it all. How would you react? And don’t lie. I have seen how we react with a simple electric bill, or pending job loss. We panic. We ask why. We may even convince ourselves that God hates us and we are cursed. Now consider Job’s reaction:

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised." (Job 1:20)


Job worshipped. He worshipped! He fell on his face and worshipped God. He recognized he had what he had only because God had provided it in the first place. It belonged to God so if God wanted to take it back that was okay. He was not attached to his possessions or children but he was attached to God.

Possessions are one thing but what about your health? Our physical condition can often put a distance between us and the Lord. We do not feel like putting much effort into anything when we are sick. I am typing this while suffering from a cold and I have to push myself to do it because my body is telling me to just go back to bed. But what is a cold compared to the painful condition of open sores throughout the body. Job was in physical pain, so much so that when his friends came to comfort him they were struck silent for seven days in awe of his suffering. Yet, Job had this attitude towards God:

His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!" He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" (Job 2:9-10)

So what is our attitude towards the storms of life and the whirling winds of the philosophies of this world? Jesus told us that if our foundation is strong then the house will be firm and will weather any storm. Job had a solid foundation of trust in his God. Jesus gave us even more. He revealed the heart of God to us. He gave us words to help us understand. He gave us something to base our life upon and said:

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. (Matthew 7:24)

Do we simply hear and not do and allow the storms to blow us around? Do we allow every little trouble to become a crisis that blows our life apart? Are we willing to simply curse God and die? Or are we willing to put his words into practice in our life, to exercise practical Christianity, to keep him as our foundation and weather anything that comes our way because of that foundation? Are we wimps or are we warriors? Do we surrender or do we fight on? What will your decision be today? Is Jesus all we need?
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Postby Blipadouzi » Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:43 am

Janaury 13th, 2006


Reading: Job 3-4; Matthew 8:1-17

Good morning Church,

As we continue to follow the verbal discussion between Job and his wanna-be comforters, we should note something very interesting. Yesterday we saw everything taken from Job, including his health and yet he refused to lay a complaint against God. He refused to curse God and die. Today we find him cursing the day he was born to the point of wishing the day to be struck from the calendar. Note the respect Job had for the authority of God. He did not enjoy his suffering but neither was he going to complain against God because he recognized the authority of God to allow this. It may sound harsh and even cruel but it was neither. This was a refining moment for Job.

The Centurion who approached Jesus also understood God’s authority. He was a man of authority and he recognized a similar yet far greater authority in Jesus. Some would limit that authority to the angels and spiritual realm. This is of far greater worth of course because the spiritual realm is the true reality, the reality of eternity. But such people are wrong. Jesus did not heal the Centurion’s servant’s spiritual condition but his physical condition. Over the next couple of days’ reading we are going to see that Jesus had as much authority over the storms and diseases as he had over the demons.

It seems that we often get perspectives all turned around. Creation is just a little thing. It may seem infinite to our small lives but it is terribly small in comparison to our God and the spiritual realms. We are told at the end that God is going to do away with heaven and earth and birth a new thing which will be the combination of the two, to be the home of both God and the new creation that we have become. But note that it is God who has created us and not us who have created him. If he created the physical as he created the spiritual then he has dominion over both, and that is what the Centurion had noted.

This is why the angel responded to Sarah’s laughter by saying, “Is anything too hard for God?” This is why the angel responded to Mary, “For nothing is impossible with God.” In teaching his disciples of the difficulty of the rich making it into heaven Jesus reminded them, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” All we have to do to allow God to work the impossible in our lives is to believe that he can; to believe that he has the authority to command the physical as well as the spiritual.

For me, one of the most touching and dramatic moments in the gospels was when the desperate father came looking for help for his suffering son. The disciples could not help him so he pleaded with Jesus. In response to his desperate plea of “If you can help”, Jesus addressed the question of lack of true belief, “’If you can?’ Everything is possible for him who believes.” The Centurion understood this to the point that he knew all Jesus had to do was will the healing of his servant from anywhere in the world and it would be done, because the physical has no choice but to obey the Creator. Remember that only man has been given the ability to disobey their Creator while the rest of creation must respond to the will of God.

Of course the question always comes down to how we will respond to this authority. Will we accept it as the Centurion did or refuse it like the Pharisees did? Or maybe we are more like that father who, when confronted by his doubts, cried out, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” Indeed Lord, help us overcome!
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Postby Blipadouzi » Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:44 am

Janaury 14th, 2006


Reading: Job 5-7; Matthew 8:18-34

Good morning Church,

Very few of you would be surprised that I would feel a need to react to this morning’s reading in Matthew. This is the passage that has always stood out for me, almost haunting me:

Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go."

Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."

Another disciple said to him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father."

But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead." (Matthew 8:19-22)


Jesus was not attached to any part of this world. He did not try to achieve great wealth or fame. He did not hold on to the customs of man. He came as a servant to serve us. He came in obedience to the Father’s will and out of love for us. He did not allow anything to distract him from his task. He went all the way, regretting nothing, holding on to nothing, desiring nothing but to complete his purpose. He knew where he belonged, and it wasn’t here.

Earlier Jesus had warned us not to invest in anything here because everything fades, spoils and rusts until it no longer exists. Even relationships come and go. The only thing we can anchor ourselves to is Jesus. Can you imagine if each of us had the attitude of not attaching ourselves to any place or thing; not really having any place to call home? Can you imagine living with the attitude that we only had one home and it is there that we are going to place our time and energy? What a change would come over the Christian Community. There is an entire industry of financial investment groups explaining to Christians how they can invest their money to be rich, as if it is some Biblical doctrine or something. How wrong can we get?

Now I am not saying that having nice things or a nice home is a sin. Not at all. But if you would mourn their loss or if you would be devastated if they were taken away, then it is a problem. If you spend more time and more money on those things than on the work of the Kingdom, there is a problem. If they become a distraction and keep you away from the duties and ministries you have been given, then there is a problem. If you treat your home as a place of retreat and hiding, like a fox’s hole, then there is a problem.

In reference to the funeral, it was no funeral at all. The man was referring to a tradition of man that would be used as an excuse to not follow Jesus. The father was not dead and may not have even been dying. To tell you the truth the details of this have slipped from my memory but it referred to us using the excuses of man-made tradition to avoid obedience to God. We have all been there and I hope that none of us will go back to it.

The reason this passage often haunts me is because of the dangers of this age we live in when there is now so much that we want to possess. We work hard to save money for retirement and our children’s education. We will forsake everything for the future when there may be no more future past today. How many parables and teachings did Jesus give us to warn us from such attitudes; living for tomorrow? He told us to live for today. He gave us the parable of the farmer who had such a good crop that he invested in a new barn to store it all, yet that very night his life would be taken from him. What use was the effort?

People teach that we must lay down solid plans. I am a dreamer and a planner. I too believe we need to lay down plans. But do it with an attitude that IF God grants us tomorrow. Do not live in those plans. Do not put off living until the plans start working out. Live your life today. Enjoy each moment of today. Take every opportunity God has given to you, today. Kiss the ones you love. Smile at that stranger on the bus. Help that person in distress. Share the love of Jesus. Talk about Jesus. Enjoy a good joke. Laugh loud. Laugh long. Pray. Don’t just promise to but pray when you say you will. Live this day as if it will be your last and if you live each day in this way you will never miss any of the opportunities God gives to you to serve him.

Do not hide in your hole. Don’t hang out with the dead. LIVE LIFE!
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Postby Blipadouzi » Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:46 am

January 16th, 2006


Reading: Job 8-10; Matthew 9:1-17

Good morning Church,

We have witnessed Jesus’ authority over the physical and over the spiritual. We have seen him heal the sick, calm the storm and cast out demons. With this there was not much criticism from the community leaders. But the next thing he did, showing even greater authority, set the “dogs” nipping and barking at his feet. What did he do?

Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." (Matthew 9:2)

What set the critics upon him for the rest of his days was that simple little thing, “Your sins are forgiven.” They did not mind him casting out demons or healing little girls, or even calming great storms, but they did have problems with this one thing; your sins are forgiven.

The problem is that it showed an authority that they were not willing to recognize. Jesus dealt with it in a simple manner by asking what is easier, to forgive sins or to tell this crippled man to walk? Then he told the man to get up and go home, which the man did immediately. Jesus scared the leaders because he demonstrated authority over the physical, the spiritual and over man’s heart.

Jesus confused the leaders by his words and his actions. He spoke like a teacher and prophet, revealing great truths about God yet in his actions he showed that he did not know how to act like a holy man. Forgiving sins and then dining with tax collectors and sinners was simply not acceptable. But Jesus told them plainly that he was not there to win over the righteous but those who were lost from God. Jesus was doing what many of us are afraid to do; he was getting his hands dirty while going about his Father’s business.

We like to play it safe. We hide in our holes. We associate in certain established circles. We keep the lost at a safe distance. Now Jesus was not becoming best of friends with them but he was being a friend to them. He did not compromise, not for a second, who he was and what his purpose was. He did not change the message. But he enjoyed spending time, dining, talking with those who needed God. He opened himself up to rejection, pain, emotional suffering. Love, to be genuine, must take the risk of being rejected. That is what Jesus did. That is what God has been doing for the whole world.

Jesus said that we must deny ourselves, take up our cross (our duty, responsibility, mission, purpose) and follow him. We must walk as he walked, do what he did. The mission has not changed; to seek the lost. The authority has not changed; we have been given the same authority over the physical, the spiritual and even to forgive sins. We have been told to go to the world. That does not mean Africa or China for everyone; that means outside your front door or your church door. The mission ground is right where God has placed you. Now, take a good look at the “tax collectors” and sinners all around you. Go and dine with them. But do not compromise your words or purpose. Do not gain the world and lose your soul. But let’s be risk takers. Instead of playing it safe all the time let’s take the risk of loving someone who may reject us. Let’s risk being hurt for the sake of winning the lost back to God. Let’s stay true to our mission and let’s get our hands dirty.
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Postby Blipadouzi » Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:47 am

January 17th, 2006


Reading: Job 11-13; Matthew 9:18-38

Good morning Church,

There is a passage coming up in Matthew that I am reminded of as I read Job this morning. It is this:

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. (Matthew 11:12)

It is often taken in the wrong sense. Here Jesus is speaking of John the Baptist and the prophets of old. They were men who stood their ground. God gave them an assignment and they forced their body and mind to conform to that assignment. They were great adventurers. You don’t climb a mountain timidly. There must be a force in your will to put your body through whatever tortures it will face to complete the adventure of the climb. The prophets were abused, tortured and killed. Yet, they pressed on.

John the Baptist was a forceful man, forsaking everything, including his life, to bring the light of God’s righteousness and holiness to a very dark world. Jesus did even more so in the deepest and darkest crevices of society. A place ravaged by sin, death and disease, Jesus stood his ground the greatest adventurer, pouring himself into the lives of the desperate, faithful to his task even in the face of his accusers who filled the air with slander:

"It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons." (Matthew 9:34)

Job too was an adventurer. He refused to let go of what he knew to be the truth. Even in the face of devastation and pain this forceful man lay hold of the kingdom of heaven. He says to his friends:

Would not his splendor terrify you?
Would not the dread of him fall on you? (Job 13:11)


God is not to be taken lightly. “He is not a tame lion.” He is mighty powerful and his glory is beyond our ability to even gaze upon. And then Job says something that leaves no doubt, here sits a forceful or if you prefer, courageous adventurer:

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him. (Job 13:15)

Though the mountain kills me I will climb it. Though these rapids be my death I will conquer them. Though serving YAHWEH may result in my death, I will complete the assignment. We sing a lot about serving God because of his love. That is good and it is true. But what about serving God simply because he is? Job stated that his hope did not depend on God’s actions. He had hope simply because God is. The prophets did not serve because of some great reward that they had been promised. They served, they obeyed, they persevered, they pushed through this rugged great adventure because God is and he told them too.

Let us not be dumb about things. We were born into a world that is at war. This is not the garden of Eden. It is not a great paradise. We are not even working towards creating some great paradise. We are adventurers, explorers and great warriors thrown into a battle that has been waged over the soul of mankind for a very long time now. Are you up to it? That is the question we ask ourselves. The answer we hear from our God is YES!

Like Job we cannot accept the thought of taking the good without the bad, to accept the blessings without the trials. We are in a battle and we must be forceful in laying hold of the kingdom of heaven; not backing down, pushing on, surrounded by other heroes who say with Job, “Though he slay me, yet I hope in him.”
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Postby Blipadouzi » Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:49 am

Janaury 18th, 2006


Some of the things you will read will seem a little weird (broken cars and such)...please note that this deovtional was written by my Pastor, and he is sharing personal experiences. PM me or send me an email if you have any questions or comments

*****************************************


Reading : Job 14-16; Matthew 10:1-20

Good morning Church ,

It is strange that this should be the subject today. There is a strange teaching that circulates the Christian Community concerning illness (a lot of the members at my church have been ill lately). There is a teaching that states that if you are close to God then no illness will touch you, that you have the power to heal yourself. There are even great stories of pastors who “refused” illness to come near his church and while death prevailed around them the church was hardly touched. I believe these stories to be authentic but to base doctrinal teaching on this is dangerous and absurd.

There is no denying that God has provided a covering for individuals and ministries but there has always been a purpose to it. To simply state that this is applied to every single believer is to undermine basic teachings and principles of the Word. Such voices can be heard in the comforters of Job who insisted that his misfortune was due to his sin. Job said to them:

I also could speak like you,
if you were in my place;
I could make fine speeches against you
and shake my head at you. (Job 16:4)


That is often how a pastor feels when he gets a winter cold or his children bring home a flu bug. In fact, there are those who would look at my family's situation, illness, broken cars, limited finances and say that we were cursed of God. Yet in all these things we continue to see the bountiful blessings of a Father who loves us enough to produce good things in us from the trials he allows us to pass through. How you see it depends on how big you are willing to see God.

I find it interesting how in this reading plan the scripture presents itself. We have Job facing these great trials and illness, no fault of his own, and then we have Jesus doing this:

He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. (Matthew 10:1)

He gave them authority over disease and sickness. I my self have exercised this authority and have at times driven illness from my family. But there are other times when the illness has been allowed. Has this been a fault of my lack of faith? Was Job’s problem a fault on his part?

No. The Word tells us that God sent the rain to fall on the righteous and the wicked. Job challenged his wife, “Am I to accept the good from God and not the bad?” We have been given authority but there are times when we are meant to experience certain things. Don’t believe me? What about the apostle Paul?

We know that he fell ill in the region of Galatia . Was this a lack of faith on his part? Not at all. In fact Paul saw God’s hand in everything, even in this. It gave him a prolonged time to preach the Word to the Galatians. And what about that famous thorn in his flesh? Three times he asked to have it removed before receiving the answer, no.

Let’s stop creating these formulas for God and understand that God has a multitude of ways of operating and using things in people’s lives. Let’s stop looking down on people with some false criteria of what it means to be holy and right with God and allow God to judge the hearts of his children. We are simply given to help carry one another’s burdens. So let us rejoice in the ways of God, even when they are a bit thorny.


by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ

Yours sincerely,

Pastor Paul Van Buren
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Postby Blipadouzi » Fri Jan 27, 2006 6:50 am

Janaury 19th, 2006


Reading : Job 17-19; Matthew 10:21-42

Good morning Church ,

How many of us understand that the last thing a depressed person needs is condemnation. The last thing a person who has lost the sight of God needs is condemnation. The last thing a sinner needs is condemnation. Yet, often, it is all that we offer. Job is sure of his relationship with God. He is sure he is in good standing. But in all his pain he needs a reminder of the goodness of God. He needs a reminder that he is loved. Listen to his plea:

My days have passed, my plans are shattered,
and so are the desires of my heart…

… where then is my hope?
Who can see any hope for me?

Will it go down to the gates of death?
Will we descend together into the dust?" (Job 17:11, 15-16)


He needs an encouraging word. Instead he receives this:

"When will you end these speeches?
Be sensible, and then we can talk.

Why are we regarded as cattle
and considered stupid in your sight?

You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger,
is the earth to be abandoned for your sake?
Or must the rocks be moved from their place? (Job 18:2-4)


What was a plea from Job, was turned into an attack against his “comforters”. No words of encouragement. In fact, Bildad goes on to really tear into Job. Yet, Job remembers his God, he remembers and states in the face of this borage of “comfort”:

I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;

I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27)


We are meant to be the hope bearers to the world. We are not to bring condemnation. Jesus did not offer condemnation to the tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners. He gave himself to them. He offered them hope. To the self-righteous, to those who thought too high of themselves he brought reproach, but to the lost he offered love. And he paid the price for it. He opened his heart to the pain and suffering of rejection. I cannot even offer to think of myself coming close to this. We play it safe, loving those who love us. But what is that? There is no risk to that. Jesus said to walk as he walked. In other words to do what he did; to risk it all on those who would rather spit in our face. This is the ministry of reconciliation.

My friends, it really is time to get down in that ash heap, to get dirty, to show that love and compassion as the Lord commanded us to do.
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